Juniata Splits Five-Set Matches at Vassar

Matt Vasinko finished with 15 kills, 20 digs, and four assisted blocks on the day.
Matt Vasinko finished with 15 kills, 20 digs, and four assisted blocks on the day.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.- The Juniata men's volleyball team concluded the weekend with a pair of matches on the campus of Vassar College. The Eagles upset #11 MIT 3-2 in their first match but lost a close 3-2 decision to #6 Vassar in the final match of the afternoon.


The Eagles jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first set against the Engineers. MIT cut the lead to 9-8 but JC was able to distance itself with an 8-4 run to spring ahead 18-12. The Eagles were able to stay ahead for the rest of the set as they won 25-21.


In the second set, JC led 8-5 but MIT came back to tie at 12-12. Juniata wrestled the lead back at 15-12 and was ahead by as much as four points, 18-14. The Engineers responded with a 9-1 run to go up 23-19. The Eagles got the score to 24-23 but MIT got the last point to win the set 25-23 and even the match at 1-1.


The Engineers carried their momentum over to the third frame as they got out to a 9-3 lead and later 14-8. Juniata stormed back to tie the set at 14-14. The Engineers would go on to outscore the Eagles 11-6 to win the set 25-20 and lead 2-1.


MIT scored the first six points of the fourth set but the Eagles countered with six of their own to to knot the frame at 6-6. MIT was able to poke ahead 11-7 and 21-18. JC ended the set on a 7-0 run to come back and win the set 25-21 and force a deciding fifth frame.


In the fifth, both teams had two-point advantages early on. With the score knotted at 8-8, Juniata broke away with four straight points, 12-8. MIT was able to keep it close but the Eagles ended it with a kill from Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, Pa./Derry Area) to notch the set and match win.


Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge) led with 25 kills and hit .400 while also putting down five digs and two assisted blocks. Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) finished with 13 kills on 20 swings for a .550 hitting percentage and contributed three assisted blocks. Michael Young (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake Village) had a season and career-high 53 assists. Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) led the defense with 15 digs and Chris Heron (Las Vegas, Nev./Arbor View) chipped in 11 digs. Vasinko had a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.


Against the Brewers, Juniata led 5-2 in the first set until Vassar snatched the lead away with a 6-1 run to go up 8-6. The Brewer lead stood at 16-14 but Juniata's 8-2 run gave it a 22-18 advantage. Vassar made it 23-21 but the Eagles received kills from Peterson and Vasinko to win the set.


Vassar led 18-13 in the second set and looked to even the match up. JC answered back and led 22-20. The Brewers did not let up as they tied the match at 22-22.  Five more ties would ensue when Juniata broke a 28-28 stalemate with the last two points to win 30-28 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.


Juniata was ahead 20-18 in the third and was in position to win the match. The Brewers had other plans as they outscored the Eagles 7-2 to win the set.


The fourth set was tight and Vassar held some sort of lead throughout. Like the third set, Juniata led 20-18 but again Vassar's 7-2 run in the end was the difference maker as the Brewers won the set to force a deciding fifth frame.


Vassar controlled the fifth set at the onset and was ahead 11-7. Juniata was able to cut that lead to 11-10 but in the end, the Brewers were too much as they scored four straight times to win 15-10.


Peterson led in kills with 23 and added five digs and three assisted blocks. Seeley added 12 kills, three solo blocks, and four assisted blocks. Young tallied 48 assists. Heron picked up 16 digs with Vasinko chipping in 10 digs.


Juniata is now idle for spring break but returns to action on March 14 when it travels to Reading, Pa. to play Alvernia. Start time for the match will be at 7:00 p.m.